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Chytil Scores OT Winner as Rangers Top Devils

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

For the second time in as many preseason games, it was a rookie fighting to earn a spot on the Rangers roster that shined at the biggest moment.

On Monday it was Neal Pionk with the game-winning goal in overtime, and on Wednesday the honor was bestowed on 2017 first-round pick Filip Chytil, who buried a pass from Mats Zuccarello with less than four seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Devils at Madison Square Garden.

With the Rangers up a man in the dying seconds, Zuccarello fed Chytil with a cross-ice pass at the bottom of the circle and the 18-year-old ripped it by goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to end the contest.

"It was an amazing feeling to score a goal in overtime," Chytil said. "My first goal, the winning goal. It was a great pass from Mats Zuccarello. I shot and it was a goal. It was an amazing feeling. I'm glad that we won."

Video: NJD@NYR: Chytil fires home game-winning goal in OT

Despite playing in his first game in North America, Chytil did not look out of place and said he felt he handled the pace of play well, especially after not playing for about a month due to an injury.

"I felt great," he said. "It was my first game after four weeks. It was a great game. I played with great guys, great players. Some of the best players in the league."

His teammates, namely his linemates, took notice of what the Czech has to offer his new Rangers team.

"He's a skilled guy. He sees the ice well," Zuccarello said. "He's long and he's fast, too. He can move the puck, he can shoot."

"He played well. Made some good plays," Zuccarello added. "He was good in the defensive zone as well. I talked to him before the game and told him to play a simple game until we get to the offensive zone and then do what you want. He showed a lot of skill today."

Video: NJD@NYR: Hayes tallies with great move on Schneider

Kevin Hayes opened the scoring for the Rangers with a power play goal in the first period. The teams traded goals early in the second, starting with Pavel Zacha's tally at 4:11, which was answered by Chris Kreider just 21 seconds later.

Brian Gibbons would tie things up at 7:15 of the middle frame before David Desharnais put New York ahead 3:01 later.

The Devils evened the score again on a Jimmy Hayes goal 3:20 into the final frame.

Henrik Lundqvist started the game and allowed two goals on 13 shots before giving way to Alexandar Georgiev, a rookie who spent last season in Finland's top league. He finished with 15 saves for the victory.

Kevin Shattenkirk finished with three assists in his Rangers preseason debut.

The early returns on Chytil were positive for Alain Vigneault.

"He played a good game," Vigneault said. "For a first game in the NHL, everyone saw the skating and the skill set. There's no doubt that there's a tremendous amount of upside there."

"It was game," Vigneault said, "and he ended it in a pretty good fashion."  

It was the first game and Chytil said he was looking forward to the team's next practice to continue to prove he can play at this level.

"I enjoyed every moment on the ice," he said. "It was really exciting. I enjoyed it."

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